Finding Record-Old Galaxies at the Limits of Hubble Space Telescope [Nature]

Recent infrared images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 are the deepest taken of the Universe, and they reveal several galaxies, including one that is the most distant object we’ve ever found. This galaxy is 13.29 billion light years (4.1 billion parsecs) from Earth and were first visible when the Universe was only 450 million years old (only 4 percent of what it is now). From my recent article in Nature, Galaxy found at record-breaking distance:

Source: NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (CALTECH), and the HUDF 2012 Team
Source: NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (CALTECH), and the HUDF 2012 Team

This is the first reliable sample of such distant galaxies to be identified using images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3. The images, recorded by Richard Ellis, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and his colleagues, also constitute the first sample large enough to confirm the standard theory that astronomers should see a smooth decline in the number of galaxies the further back in time they peer, to when the cosmos was just 450 million old, less than 4 percent of its current age.

“This study represents the deepest archaeological dig of the Universe so far,” says Avi Loeb, a theoretical astrophysicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is also the most comprehensive, he adds.

Read the full article at Nature.